|Rush County Economic Development
Rush County Courthouse
715 Elm, LaCrosse, Kansas 67548-0326
Maintaining the Vitality of a Rural Kansas County...
The Hometown-Owned Variety Store Project
OPENED MAY 1, 2011
Store Hours: Monday - Saturday: 9:00 - 6:00, Sunday 12:00 - 5:00
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On November 29, 2010, Duckwall-ALCO Corporation announced that it would be closing all 44 of its Duckwall's locations, with only one targeted to reopen as an ALCO. The closings would be effective in early January 2011 leaving Rush County without a general merchandise store. Read the official news release here.
As soon as Rush County Economic Development officials learned of the closing, plans were immediately put into motion to find a suitable replacement for the store. Both Economic Development personnel and local businesspersons realized that the store's closing would have a serious negative impact on the economic vitality of the community. For the past 17 years, Duckwall's has served as an “anchor” store to the downtown business district. In addition to employing four persons, the store contributed over $4,000 annually in sales tax revenue directly to the city of La Crosse, and between $30,000 and $40,000 annually in tax revenues to the state. It was evident that something needed to be done soon.
The first in a series of meetings was held on November 30 and a decision was reached to pursue three options: 1) Approach the Duckwall-ALCO corporation about the possibility of opening an ALCO store; 2) Contact officials of Dollar General about opening a store; or 3) explore the feasibility of a locally-owned store.
After exploring all options, making several contacts, and studying demographic requirements of the corporate-owned stores, the group decided that the third option was most viable and could be completed in the shortest time span. In addition, it was probably the only option that would allow the store to remain in the downtown business district. The location is also of prime concern for citizens who have difficulty commuting even short distances. The former “Duckwall's” store building was already owned by Rush County Industrial Development, Inc. The Economic Development committee was also able to secure all of the fixtures and equipment for the store at a modest cost. Thus, Rush County Industrial Development, Inc. has a turn-key facility ready to house a retail variety store.
The new store is owned by a group of investors who with an investment/donation of $5,000 or more were issued shares of stock. A total investment of $130,000 was initially required to cover costs of $105,000 for the initial stocking of the store and $25,000 start-up operating capital. Although akin to a "community-owned" store, this project will be different. The intention is not to operate it as a not-for-profit cooperative, but as a full-fledged business. The store is staffed by paid employees and a full-time manager under the oversight of a Management Board. A minimum investment limits the required number of shareholders, thereby maximizing the potential for return on investment. Investors will own shares (units) in the corporation and will be entitled to dividends when the store becomes financially solid and shows a profit. Those who wished to contibute, but not own stock made contributions to the Rush County Industrial Development Corporation, who invested and/or donated all of the funds to the new store.
Most of the funds were accrued by late February permitting the store to be open by May 1.
Update - February 16, 2011: A new corporation, “Hometown Variety Store LLC” is now being formed. The project is progressing rapidly. At last night's annual meeting of Rush County Industrial Development, Inc., the Economic Development committee as well as some of the prospective investors were given a tour of the store facility. Other than a few minor upgrades and general maintenance issues, the building is ready to go. A committee will be going to work to prepare the building in the next few days. RCID has pledged additional temporary funds to cover expenses during the interim term until the corporation is established.
Update - February 25, 2011: Work has started on the building. The floor is being replaced in the public restroom, new carpet is being installed at the entrance, and a few display fixtures are being rearranged.
Update - March 3, 2011: IT'S A GO! POST ROCK VARIETY STORE SOON TO BE A REALITY The organizational meeting of the stockholders was held last night. Although fund raising is not totally completed, organizers are proceeding with finalizing arrangements with the distributor and ordering merchandise. Opening date is still planned for May 1, 2011.
Update - April 27, 2011: POSTROCK VARIETY STORE - OPEN MAY 1, 2011 Employees and volunteers are working around the clock to stock the shelves and have the store ready to open on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Watch for our Grand Opening announcement in the future.
Income projections are based upon a combination of sources: a statement prepared by a local businessman with considerable experience in retail, a CPA analysis of those projections as compared to industry averages compiled for variety stores and published by retail associations, and the previous manager's 36 years experience in retail and 4 years experience as Duckwall's store manager. Projections include a gross profit margin of 35%, less freight expenses leaving a margin of 32.7%, which is exactly in line with an industry-wide average of 32.61%. Expense projections are based upon actualities: rent from previous tenant, utility costs based upon extensions of previous store plus additional costs for internet service and cost increases, and payroll as based upon the number and salaries of part-time and full-time employees from the previous store. Projections result in a conservative net profit margin of 4.6% which would constitute a cushion against unforeseen circumstances, or at a later date possibly be used toward stock dividends.
Contact Rush County Economic Development for more information.
Investments are now closed.
Upon recommendation by our accountant, the initial fund raising goal has been increased to $150,000. These additional
funds will be used to offset additional start-up and inventory costs or unforeseen expenses.
Investment Progress: WE HAVE MET OUR GOAL
Investments pledged as of May 1, 2011